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Commitment is at the heart of their activity. These women and men are inspired by the world to act differently and sustainably, and to make their environment a path of expression, creativity, innovation or solidarity. Finance, culture, crafts, industry or media are all fields embodied by these personalities, who have agreed to be in cahoots with us for a meeting to share their universe.

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Rachel Camara-Michaux is the co-founder and president of the ORBE NOVO brand. After more than twenty years in the marketing departments of international brands in luxury and sports, she decided to change her horizon, to give more meaning to her professional life with a more personal project closer to her values and convictions. She launches in 2019 with 3 associates, Jean Leclercq, Joachim Camara and Rémi Bouhaniche the brand ORBE NOVO, which creates high-end travel bags and accessories from upcycled technical textiles, such as balloon cloth.

How did your desire to get involved come about, what was the trigger?

Faced with the social and environmental crises that are multiplying, the chance of meetings and my personal reflections, I was convinced that it was necessary to change the paradigm and that it was necessary to act even on a small scale to develop another economy, more circular and more responsible than the historical linear model of produce, consume and throw away. 

What are ORBE NOVO's commitments in terms of sustainability?

ORBE NOVO is looking for resistant technical textiles with a history. From existing sources, the brand hunts for unexploited textiles from manufacturers and users. Exceptional materials destined for incineration or landfill that it would be a shame to sacrifice when they can have new uses and new functions. ORBE NOVO reinjects this precious material into a new cycle of creation.

ORBE NOVO makes high quality designer bags and accessories made to last. The precision of the seams to the half millimeter and the absence of thread take-up, the careful confection is carried out by workshops labeled Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant or ISO 9100 certified.

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"ORBE NOVO literally means new circular trajectory"

What is the story behind the name ORBE NOVO?

ORBE NOVO literally means "new circular trajectory". This is precisely the leitmotiv of our approach: rethinking the material and giving a new life to textiles that have excelled in their previous life. It is also the name of a river, the ORBE, which rises near Besançon, the brand's headquarters, and continues its course in Switzerland in the Orbe Valley. 

What are the biggest issues you face in your business?

Our society is facing major economic and ecological challenges. In order to act and be part of the circular economy, ORBE NOVO has voluntarily chosen the status of a start-up, a short and agile structure to develop its activity of manufacturing upcycled bags and accessories in circuits. A new value chain that had to be rethought from A to Z, from raw material to finished product in a new ecosystem. The major challenge is to ensure the sustainability of our supply of quality technical textiles with high usage value. We also have to convince the garment workshops, often solicited by major clients, to join us in this adventure. This is a delicate equation to solve in a highly competitive context, with the intention of developing a high-quality, affordable offer that meets the major societal challenges.

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Is it possible to change things in a sector with strong traditions?

Change is never easy, it is true, there is reluctance and it takes time to adapt to change, especially in a sector with strong traditions. But we are entering a new world where climate, energy and social crises are no longer hypotheses. There is no Planet B, so everything is moving faster than expected. This is a positive evolution where the consumer and the brand can contribute to this movement.

What can we do at the individual level to make a difference?

Get informed as a consumer. Consume differently, less but better.

And at the collective level?

By encouraging politicians and brands to act as well. Together we will get results. The problems are complex, there is not one universal solution but many. All initiatives are therefore interesting to engage.

What would need to change to go faster in your opinion?

The legislative framework can accelerate this change by supporting companies in the energy transition and moving to a circular economy. 

What three things do you think are essential to change the world?

Tolérance - Culture - Creation

What do you think the world of tomorrow should look like?

A better distribution of wealth. More altruism and benevolence in human relations.

What is the one anti-green habit you find hard to break?

The use of cars in the city at the expense of bicycles and public transport.

Thank you Rachel!

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You too can tell us your stories that can inspire us all! If you want to try your hand at the Proust questionnaire or share your experience, your commitment, your tips or your gripes, go to the "Share with us" discussion forum on the La Mèche platform:

Proust Questionnaire

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